Tuesday, June 18, 2013

3 Great bands to sign off with before my holidays with the most excellent,Travel Lanes, Too Much Saturn and Shelta.

Travel Lanes - Hey Hey, It's The Travel Lanes

Well, I am heading off for my holidays now for a few weeks, so this will be my last bit of blogging for three weeks or so, but don't stop sending submissions for the blog, as you have probably noticed I love the challenge of catching up with myself!
Three things I will be packing for my travels are the cds of the bands I am featuring here today, kicking off with the aptly named "Travel Lanes."  What a fantastic CD this is, this is classic Power Pop, I have been playing this loads this week and I am sure that it will be getting plenty of play during my holidays,
The band hail from Philadelphia and they have a wish, that wish is that you will turn out for a show, have a great time and buy a CD and help them on their way.  This is a band with great form, playing edgy, melodic tunes with a fantastic amount of energy, it would be quite fair to say that I am absolutely loving this.

I really can't impress enough how much you should grab a copy of this album, support this band and go along and see them if you can, did I say how much I am loving this? ;) Recommended for those that love the sounds of Elvis Costello, The Replacements and Nick Lowe.

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love the excellent Travel Lanes here: Facebook

Download "Hey Hey It's The Travel Lanes" here: itunes and cdbaby

Contact the band for physical copies.


More classic power pop here with added rock 'n' roll style keyboards  for an extra dimension, if that was needed for a band with an album with the title, "Moving Forward Sideways."
This Chicago band tick all the right boxes, they have the songs, the tunes, the delivery and some soul too, which both vocalists deliver with an absolute passion and style.
This album kicks off with the brilliant song "Photogenic," a real kick arse, stomp along song, that will have you playing air guitar or air drums to.  Every track on this album has a great quality, at times I was reminded of The Cars more rockier tracks, I am not sure if that is the keyboards or the production, but I don't care, this is brilliant, another classic slice of power pop.

Once again, I am absolutely loving this, this album will be gracing the ICM stereo for quite some time!

Stream and buy the album, CD/Download here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love the wonderful "Too Much Saturn" here: Facebook



A very good friend of mine dropped a track on my facebook page from this band and I was absolutely gobsmacked by their songs and thought of The Small Faces immediately when I heard the track, it had the depth and style and what is more the vocals were really powerful, so I dropped the band a message to find out more.  Shelta have been treading the boards for some time and then split, fortunately they realised that they had something special and re-formed and thank f*** they did!

The band is heavily influenced by the Mod and Brit Pop sounds, but, there is something about this band that puts them in a different place from the other bands in this scene and that is the powerful vocals and the fresh approach that they have to their influences, this is rocky, soulful, punchy and bloody clever and whilst there is no album out, or even a single, this is a band to watch out for, get on their facebook page and lets get an album out of them, to sum it up, GREAT!  Cheers to Joey for the heads up.

Style and substance!

Contact, befriend, follow, encourage them to make an album here: Facebook

Listen to more fantastic tunes here: Soundcloud


Right that is me done for my holidays, I will be back soon, take care and keep the faith!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strangely Alright - The Time Machine is Broken OUT NOW

The say you can't judge a book by a cover and I guess the same applies to promotional material?  This album arrived neatly packaged in a folder with a complete biography of the band, an introduction to each of the members, photos and an introduction letter from vocalist guitarist Regan Lane.  This is possibly the best most informative promotion pack I have received from a band or record company, and what is more the album is also delivered with the same amount of care and attention as its promotional packaging.

"The Time Machine is Broken" is the first release for this band, which was formed after Regan Lane found himself at a low point in his life sitting on Tacoma's waterfront with nothing more than a broken down car, an empty crack pipe and a nasty opiate addiction, helpless and lost.
Time passed and Regan changed his outlook and gained a whole new perspective on life and a chance meeting with Ken Schaff (Bass/Vocals) led to a musical partnership that would soon, along with Jeff Reiner, Guitars, Lee Gregory, Keyboards/Vocals and Preston Darville Drums, become "Strangely Alright."

Time, acceptance, taking action, living in the moment, forgiveness and invariably love are the recurring lyrical themes that are addressed here, with a point of view that could be considered spiritual but is based on the thought that basically you get what you give.

With Lanes emotional vocals, crunchy, chiming guitars, lush harmonies, swirling mellotrons and strings, "The Time Machine Is Broken" is both modern and retro with a colourful production.

With reference points of The Beatles, Jellyfish, XTC, Be Bop Deluxe and even David Bowie, this album will sit pretty with a wide variety of listeners, who, like myself, will be only too happy to climb on board and go for a ride through space and time and come out the other side feeling totally elated for the experience, and that is, "Strangely Alright!"

Expect to see this album sitting pretty, high up in many "Albums Of The Year " lists. This is an instant classic!

Contact, befriend, follow, like, love and travel with Strangely Alright here: Facebook

CD available to buy here: cdbaby

Official Website: www.strangelyalright.com

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hanky Panky - Precious Bitch EP - FREE DOWNLOAD

Winning best name band of the year so far is "Hanky Panky" from Nantes in France, but not everything in is a name, as we well know so it is a good job that this band have recorded 3 excellent songs for their first EP too.

"Hanky Panky" are a relatively new band so there is not an awful lot I can tell you about them at the moment, other than that they are one of the bands that are starting to put France on the musical map again, along with bands like "Crusaders of Love" and "Fuzzy Vox," in fact I can't even tell you who does what in the band, but, one of the members of the band Gianni Tremolo tells me that they use Rickenbacker guitars, Fender Rhodes and  a Hammond organ to get their sixties styled sounds and that they are influenced by some of my very own favourite bands, Teenage Fanclub, The Prisoners, Apples in Stereo and The Muffs to name but a few.

The three tracks on the EP are "Precious Bitch" followed by two excellent cover songs, "Bubble Skies" by Batmen and the best cover version of Buffalo Springfields "Burned" since Teenage Fanclub covered it!  This is certainly a band to keep you eye on.

The band record at home and will be releasing more free downloads in the year, they are also looking to start playing in Spain and Italy as well as on their home soil, so if you are a promoter in one of those countries, or know someone who is, then pass this link onto them and get this band booked, you won't be dissapointed I am sure.  Personally, I am hoping that they will make it further afield and take in Sweden too, selfish, I know, but I would love to see this band live!

Check out the fantastic video the band have put together for their track "Precious Bitch."

As soon as there is any further information or music available from "Hanky Panky," you can be absolutely sure that you will be hearing it here on the blog.

Contact, follow, befriend, like and love, with all you heart, "Hanky Panky" here: Facebook

Download the single FREE here: Bandcamp

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Round up of the week with, Nick Piunti, The Mad Doctors, The Joy Of Painting, Ballard, Welcome Pariah, Paul Messis and The Royal Flares

Once again, I am way behind with my mail, so many e-mails come through from great bands playing great music that I simply don't have time to get them all out there, so I am going to continue with my "round ups" in order to get them all out to you and what a blinding album to start with.  Nick Piunti, who you may know as one of the Respectables (Detroit) or member of Chris Richards and the Subtractions, apparently, he is the cutest member of the band, but we are not able to confirm or deny this here at ICM headquarters, but, we do know that he has made a blinding power pop album with "13 In My Head" and that you should bag yourself a copy of this album with immediate effect!

Stream and get your copy from the very excellent Futureman Records here: Futuremanrecords.Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Nick Piunti here: Facebook


Brooklyn based garage punk band The Mad Doctors have just released an EP of surf rock, garage punk and psychedelic sludge and it contains exactly that, if The Black Lips had a slimy kid with The Ghastly ones, then this is what it would sound like and we like this, it kicks in all the right spots and hits the parts that other music just can't reach.

Yep, definately mad!

Stream and buy the EP here: Bandcamp

Join in with the madness, contact, follow, befriend, like and love (at your own peril) here: Facebook


The Joy Of Painting have been a favourite of mine since I first stumbled across them on Bandcamp with their album "Asterix" and now a few singles later they have unleashed another mini album which once again reminds me why I fell in love with them in the first place, 7 songs of complete and utter joy, no pun intended, this is top quality pop craftsmanship direct from Nashville, check it out, seriously, check it out!

The Joy of Painting get the thumbs up from me too!

Stream and buy the album here with many different colouful packages available, including vinyl, T shirts etc here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Joy Of Painting here: Facebook


Ballard started working on this album immediately after releasing his previous album "Little Rockets" (which we featured on the blog earlier in the year), it began with the track "Everybody Knows" which was a departure from the punky/mod sounds of "Little Rockets" with the visions of a more epic Phil Spector type sound, whilst still retaining the lo-fi qualities of the previous Ballard recordings.
"Bucky" is more varied album in styles of music with Nilsson, The Kinks and Working Boys as inspiration.
The album is a short affair with 9 songs clocking in at just over twenty minutes which leave you wanting for more and I am quite sure that there will be more this year.
There are rumours abound that Ballard are to be recording with Dana Myza of Cotton Mather in the future and we'll certainly keep you abreast of any developments there as that promises to be something very special indeed.  For now, enjoy this great album.

Stream and buy the album here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Ballard here: Facebook


From Southampton, vocalist/lead guitarist John Waghorn, vocalist/guitarist Josh Butcher, bassist Daniel Manuel, and (session) drummer John Martin are causing a bit of a stir on the music scene. Supporting The Dexters, The Moons, Chris Helme, Steve Craddock and Mark Morriss; landing an interview with the Huffington Post, and debuting their latest single, ‘Neither Here Nor There’ at This Feeling… Say hello to Welcome Pariah.

On my first listen to the band I was reminded a little of "Cast" but on subsequent listens I discovered many other influences, albeit subtle, but this band brings something else to the table, great tunes, excellent musicianship and well crafted lyrics.  These guys are just what the British music scene needs right now (and many places beyond) this is a really refreshing and very tasty outfit and I can't wait to hear some more from them, welcome Welcome Pariah and enjoy!

Find more songs here: Soundcloud

Contact, befriend, follow, find more tunes (be sure to check out the excellent "Liberty Pill" on Youtube) like and love Welcome Pariah here: Facebook


I discovered Paul Messis via a large selection of CDs sent to me by his label "State Records" last year and immediately his music resonated with me, full of chiming guitars and licks that could have come straight from the sixties garage scene.
I spent a large part of my youth seeking out 60's garage records and collecting the Rubbles, Pebbles, Texas Flashbacks etc records and I absolutely loved the bands I was discovering, I would guess that Paul was doing the same as he encompasses many of those sounds but in his own original way bringing the folk rock, psychedelic, punk and garage elements of the sixties together beautifully, this has to be one of my records of the year so far, I love it!

Stream and buy the album here: Bandcamp
Make sure to discover and submerge yourself in the sounds of Paul Messis' back catologue whilst there.

Paul has also started his own record company with a release by The Young Sinclairs being his first single release.
The aims of the label are to release a succession of cool 45s for many bands over time, whilst keeping true to our musical integrity and original aims


Keeping with the sixties garage scene, here is another band that are currently getting plenty of air time in our "office." This band from Munich, Germany obviously share my passion and love for the sixties garage scene too and we also love them!

The Royal Flares are dedicated to the raw, wild, frantic and driving sound of 60s garage rock’n’roll as epitomized by the legendary „Back From The Grave“ series. Drumsticks flying through the room, the Farfisa organ grinding the sole off your shoes, the singer snarling and screaming out his anger, angst and longing, the bass like a heavy maelstrom underneath and guitars like rusty blades slashing through mountains of fuzz and twang. 
„Tales Of Sound & Fury“ was recorded in an old building of the German Federal Railway, which makes for an authentic, almost archaic sound (the secret being high ceilings, like the studios in the sixties used to have them). It’s live, including the vocals, and it’s wild. This is not a clean and neat simulation of long gone garage punk greatness, this is the real thing. Forceful, massive like an old steam engine, rolling downhill! 
„Bad Part Of Town“, the original already being a top-notch rocker- the Flares turn it into a downright „punk juggernaut“ as a US collector of sixties garage 45s has put it. Their rendition of the all-time garage favourite „Going All The Way“ is a blasting ’66 jangle ride on a ’77 punk engine. And another reputable expert of 60s garage rock’n’roll has only one word for their version of the hard-core garage anthem „Last Time Around“: „killer“!
Their original material doesn’t lack behind. If you think „Signifying Nothing“ with its biting blasts of fuzz is right off a Back From The Grave comp, you could be right, only that it’s the Royal Flares’ very own creation. „The Stalker“, another 60s punk smasher, has been described as „the Great Scots blended with the Ramones (Blitzkrieg Bop)“. With tunes like „This Is Why I“ the Royal Flares even prove to be competent on Beau Brummels territory and „Mavis“ is a beautifully haunting and moody 60s garage ballad.
„Tales Of Sound & Fury“ is like a massive rock in a sea of plastic. It’s raw, it’s wild, it’s pulsating with the blood of original rock’n’roll. Welcome to the Stone Age! 

"Last Time Around" from "Tales of Sound and Fury" Live.

Listen to more from this outstanding outfit here: Soundcloud

Buy the album from the excellent label CopaseDisques here: Copasetic
(Release date 28/6/13)

Contact, befriend, follow like and love The Royal Flares here: Facebook

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Popdogs - Cool Cats For Pop Dogs. OUT NOW

Putting the Pop firmly in Power Pop by name and by virtue, The Popdogs lead us through 10 tracks over 30 minutes that will have you tapping anything to hand, singing along to catchy lyrics, punky power chords and if you are a cat person, you will certainly become a dog person!

James Styring (Ex "Postcards From Places That Don't Exist") on vocals and Tim McKeating on guitar and backing vocals, hail from Lincoln in England and seem to have cracked the perfect pop song formula as this album displays.  It is very hard to pick out a favourite track on this album, every track on the album could quite easily be released as a single, something that is pretty rare these days.

The Popdogs are now a five piece outfit having put together a a band for some prestigious gigs at The Cavern in Liverpool, it was at these gigs that the band officially released this album, you may remember when I first ran a feature on this fine album last year, it wasn't then available but it is now and everyone should own a copy of this delightful piece of power pop.

The album is available at: itunes amazon and physical copies can be purchased from KoolKat Music

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Popdogs here: Facebook

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Solicitors - Made To Measure EP

This exciting New Wave/Power Pop band from Melbourne, Australia is made up of an American, a New Zealander a Brit and an Australian and obviously this is a great blend of nationals to perform some of the most infectious Power Pop, think Elvis Costello jamming (and pumping it up) with Silver Sun and you have The Solicitors.

The lead track "Pretty Penny" is pretty quickly becoming one of my favourite tracks of the year so far and the other 4 tracks on this superb EP are all equally snapping at my heels for some full on attention, this is a really excellent EP and I can't wait to hear a long player from the band.  Also included on the EP is a cover of the brilliant song "Back Of My Hand" by The Jags which the band give a freshening makeover to.

"Made To Measure" will be released on the excellent "Popboomerang Records" on June the 14th.

The Solictors, suited and booted and ready to rock your world!

Stream and buy the "Made To Measure" EP here: Bandcamp

There will be a CD release for those of you who like to own the physical product, this will be limited to 300 copies, also available to order at bandcamp or direct from Popbomerang Records

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Solicitors here: Facebook

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Seaweed Meadows - Ruins OUT NOW!

A little while ago, I went to catch some live bands locally at one of the venues in my adopted home town of Gothenburg, Sweden.  I went along specifically to see a band that I have been helping out in one way or another, but the band they were supporting were so good, I felt that I should include them on the blog, with one thing or another going on, I got somewhat distracted and haven't gotten around to it until now.
I was prompted to look into them again when I found out their latest single "Ruins," which was released in March, is climbing high in the students charts here in Sweden, which is no mean feat when you see the more established artists that the band are up against, and, the reason they are doing so well?  Well, basically we have a band here that know how to write a good song and deliver it with absolute passion and conviction as well as all being very adept musicians.

The band plan to release a follow single towards the end of the summer, which, I am told will be a bit "dirtier" and a less polished, slick affair than "Ruins" which certainly leads me to believe that it will be something exciting to look forward to and warm our souls as the summer fades away.  
After the release of the next single the band are planning for a long player, obviously, not a band that are sitting still.  
Seaweed Meadows have also signed a deal with "Amazing Media UK" which means that we could soon be hearing their music in TV and films as well as more airplay on the radio stations, so they are certainly going to a band to watch out for and a band that are taking the high road.

Seaweed Meadows are:

Matthias Johansson, Vocals
Jonas Oresten, Guitar
Christian Sundin, Guitar
Jonas Jansson, Keyboard
Terje Selnes, Bass
Johan Rask, Drums/Vocals

Download the single here: Spotify and itunes

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Seaweed Meadows here: Facebook

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday round up with Stanley Road, Mod Gun, Fuzzy Vox, The Ballantynes and "The Various Flavours of Power Pop" by JP of Pezband.

Stanley Road - Spanish Art Today

Blog Mod faves Stanley Road are back serving up a delightful debut album, that frankly, looks good enough to eat.
Stanley Road deliver more of the high quality tunes that we have come to expect from them in the stylings of The Jam, The Chords et al, but on this very fine debut they offer up several songs in their native Spanish, which I think is great.  This is Mod revival with a twist at it's very best!

The album is available to download and also available on CD, I believe it will be available on vinyl soon too which will be worth having to have that very tasty artwork in 12" form, not to mention the top tunes, brilliant!

Stream, download and buy the album here: Bandcamp

Contact, follow, befriend, like and love Stanley Road here: Facebook


Mod Gun - No Beaches

When I featured this bands last album "Fools" I couldn't tell you much about them, other than who they were and who played what in the band, well, now I can tell you a little more, the band consists of husband and wife, Paul and Kathleen Peters,  her brother and Paul's best friend and they come from Boston, they have been playing together for three years and of course, this is all trivia, but, they make some bloody good shoegazing/indie/psychedelic music, and that is the important bit right....oh and as before, the album is available for a Name Your Price fee or FREE to download, so go get it and enjoy!
As I always say, if you can contribute something, it ensures that the band can carry on making music, if you can't, get it anyway and share the bands links.

Stream and download the album here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Mod Gun here: Facebook


Fuzzy Vox - Technicolor

Next up we say "Bonjour" to our new favourite band from France "Fuzzy Vox."  This Paris based band take good old rock and roll, give it an almighty great boot in the derriere and blow your ear drums out, this band rocks, like a good band should, the bands version of Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire is simply amazing, I also love there version of Thee Vicars "Everyday," absolutely brilliant, I could sit here blowing smoke up there arse all night, but go take a listen and do that yourself, they are that good!!!!!
Fuzzy Vox are about to embark on a few dates with that other superb French outfit "Crusaders Of Love" so check out the bands dates and if you are close to any of the venues (or even if you aren't)  I seriously wouldn't miss one of the gigs, I have a feeling they will be dynamite!!!
The "Technicolor" EP has been released on vinyl, unfortunately, I don't have any info on where from, but I am sure that the band will hook you up with a message to them on facebook or here: fuzzyvoxband@gmail.com

Listen to more tracks here: Soundcloud

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Fuzzy Vox here: Facebook


The Ballantynes - Faith/Velvet 7"

Last year I ran a feature on the very excellent "La Ti Da Records" and one of the bands that I mentioned in that feature was The Ballantynes, who, are now back with a new single, steeped in a sixties pop feel, this little nugget will have you dancing on the table, so don't play it until you have finished eating.  This seven piece Vancouver outfit really know how to knock a tune out, organ wailing, hips shaking, tambourine shimmering....love it!

Buy the 7" vinyl here: La Ti Da Records
(Be sure to check out the other bands on this fantastic label too!)

Stream and download the single here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Ballantynes here: Facebook


When you ask anyone what their favourite Power Pop bands are, you often get a groaning reaction about the term "Power Pop."  For me personally, it takes in an extremely wide spectrum of music, which to my mind is very healthy, I still don't listen to Whitney Houston though.....anyway, I digress, I got this great e mail from JP from Pezband, a band that always get a notable mention when you talk about great pop bands, and I like to share it with you as it really puts things into perspective, but first, here is a Pezband tune to warm you up!

The Various Flavors of Power Pop

Pezband has been around since the Fall of 1971, and I have played with Mimi for even longer- he and I did a live radio broadcast playing the Yardbird's "New York City Blues" when we were kids in 1969. The group hasn't been active for all that time, we've all done other things, been on tours, session work, major/minor/indie labels, etc etc. But we are currently back together because we figured out that we like playing this music, and are pretty good at it. 

There are quite a few bands who have played our kind of music, and for one reason or another are doing it again, as well as a lot of younger bands who are doing it for the first time..a lot of the latter are really good. In order to put this style of music in a 2 word byte..the term Power Pop has resurfaced. Pezband has always had a love/hate relation with it. 

The term Power Pop was coined by Pete Townsend in 1967 to describe The Who. Pop music in the UK at the time was a catch all for everything that wasn't classical music. This could be the Beatles and Stones..but also Acker Bilk, Dixieland/trad, ethnic music and Ja know what else. I think what Pete was trying to say here was that the Who were pop..but to differentiate them from the rest.. POWER Pop, and if you've ever heard the Who in those days, you wouldn't confuse them with Mr Bilk. The term went dormant for a while until Mimi used it again to describe Pezband in around 1976. All of a sudden it seemed to make sense to describe a few groups around at the time..not punk, not new wave, not hard rock. Great bands like Dwight Twilley's, Big Star, The Motors, you probably have your own list.

For me, the one distinguishing feature of a great Power Pop band is that it's a product of it's locality, ("terroir", as my friends in Paris would say about wine), and uses the music from its region to blend in with mostly 1960's Brit Invasion styles. The Who did this (although they were part of that invasion) by blending in the Mod Culture R&B of Swingin' London. Big Star blended in Memphis blues and soul to their take on it, Twilley blended in Memphis rock and soul with Beatles harmonies. Pezband took Chicago Blues (via both the original, which was played nightly 3 miles east of where we grew up) as well as the Brit versions of Fleetwood Mac and the Yardbirds, and blended it with the Who and Kinks. All of these bands play Power Pop, but have different approaches and sounds. 

I mentioned we at Pez have had a love/hate relationship with the term. In the late 70's a lot of bands had turned the genre into something that was so stylized and self consciously derivative that it made us not want to be associated with it. I think Twilley and Chilton felt the same. This was the time when any band with a skinny tie and mod hairdo could put together a set of not so original songs and parade around as a Power Pop group. Most of these bands were really terrible live, clearly showing they had no real roots in anything, except for being mimics or entertainers. It got so terrible that the term (and bands with it, good and bad alike) self destructed in the 80's. 

As I said in the beginning, we all branched out and played other things for a while, retracing our roots for a refresher. It's a good thing to retap what made you want to play in the first place, as you come back stronger and with a deeper understanding of the music you play. Also with a better view of where you fit in the long view of things.

When we play now, we are as likely to blast into an extended version of a Billy Boy Arnold (via the Yardbirds) tune like "I Wish You Would" as we are to do "Love Goes Underground" or any other Pezband back catalog number. We are also writing new material that reaches back to our roots and blends in over 40 years of playing. And we don't mind it all that much to be labeled a Power Pop group..just as long as people get what that really means. And as we are finding out when we take to the boards again..they do.

JP also mentioned to me that the band were hoping to get to the UK in Autumn and asked what I thought of that?  Well, I think it would be great and it would be great to see the band embark on a complete European tour, Sweden can be quite pleasent in the Autumn too JP! ;)

Contact, befriend, follow, find out more,  like and love Pezband here: Facebook